I was sitting in the front row of the chapel, with all the other pastors and leaders who would take part in the Sunday worship. The worship centre was filled with students, faculty and families, and the worship team had taken its place on the platform. This was my India missions/ministry trip to New Theological Seminary in Dehradun, North India, in the latter part of 2009. Then something strange began to happen – at least strange to me. If this was summer camp I could understand it. But here were these men in shirt and ties, suits – who began to take their shoes off – all of them right there in the front row – the other preachers, the worship leader, the Scripture readers ….. I’m glad my host leaned over and quietly explained: “all of us who lead any part of worship believe we are standing on holy ground. To show our respect, we remove our footwear.” Then the light went on for me. Of course – just like Moses in Exodus chapter 3.
On holy ground, good things happen. Like the reassurance that God is here with us, right now! Like the invitation to Moses to join in on a great divine rescue plan. The trajectory of human history dramatically changed because of a divine encounter in a burning bush – HOLY GROUND!
So how is God getting your attention these days? What mission is He sending you on? Be alert, don’t miss the sign, listen carefully, and know that God will make up for all your inadequacy.
Sometimes it is so frustrating – I mean we know Jesus said that true worship is a matter of where the heart is, that it is about spirit and not form right? In John 4:23-24, in response to the question about the best location for a true church to worship, Jesus says = “the time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth – they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” So why do we get sucked in to so many emotional battles over structure and style? I love what Pastor Ron Edmondson wrote on this subject – simple and to the point. (you can see it on his blog here) I have posted it below. What do you think?
10 SIGNS YOU REALLY DON’T GET WORSHIP: IF ….
1. The volume or tempo of the music determines whether you think it’s a worship song.
2. A slight change in the order of the service makes you think they’ve harmed “worship”.
3. You think raising hands or not raising hands determines the depth of a person’s worship.
4. You believe the “proper” length of a “worship” service is dictated by your lunch schedule.
5. You think worship has to be in a service or part of a programmed event.
6. Certain instruments keep you from thinking worship is possible.
7. You think worship is confined to a certain place or a certain time.
8. The clothes you wear determines the quality of worship…for you AND others.
9. You think worship always involves music.
10. Your attempt to worship has more to do with a personal preference than the subject of worship.
WHAT HOLDS YOUR CHURCH STEADY, SOLID, SOUND? Of course there will be a multitude of answers suggested. My contribution to the discussion will be just three elements; worship, witness, and nurture. I believe all three are so important that this became the last series I preached in Brockville and the first series I preached in Kimberley.
Neglecting any one of these is like trying to balance on a 3-legged stool: you can’t do it for very long. Everything done at our church should be focused on these pillars. If I’m busy with church work, can I say with certainty that what my energy and resources are going to can easily be filtered through the matix of this trinity of priorities?
For more on this please go to http://churchpillars.blogspot.com